Friendsgiving reminds us that the holidays are a total nightmare.
The holidays can be rough. Most of us spend them surrounded by family, and this usually means you spend the day reflecting on the important things. Like, for example, if that DNA kit worth the money, on the offshoot that it might reveal that you are, indeed, adopted.
Fortunately, the holidays also give us time to spend with friends. Friends are the people we choose to be around. They are the people who accept and love us for who you are, quirks and all. This is the backdrop for Friendsgiving, another indie horror short from the minds of Above the Line Artistry. The film, co-written and directed by Sam Kolesnik, is currently making the rounds in the festival circuit.
The plot is straightforward enough. A lonely woman swings by the neighbor’s house to borrow some flour and gets invited to their “Friendsgiving” celebration. The only problem, though, is that this group of pals prefer something a little more robust than turkey.
The film and its creators demonstrate the power of trusting in your audience. A lot of this film’s punch comes from its use of tropes. We, as the audience, know where it’s going, and certainly understand that this is going to end badly. Somehow, this drives and heightens our fears. And with good reason, because it is a slow and gruesome ride. Like the film’s protagonist we see it coming, but we are helpless against it.
The film’s best best moment, by far, is the actual holiday dinner scene. Kolesnik’s long, slow-burning shots make us feel like we are there, experiencing every awkward moment. And the actors do a great job of feeding this tension with good manners, haunting smiles, and an appetite for good food and good conversation.
Also, Nathan Ludwig offers a strong performance as one of the party guests, combining creepy with cordial to create a sort of millennial manifestation of Norman Bates. Thankfully, it all comes together to create a worthwhile holiday horror short.